Nicole Feliciano is celebrating a major milestone this month: 10 years of entrepreneurship.
When MomTrends began in 2007, it was always meant to be a resource for moms. It wasn’t going to be a personal account from Nicole, and it wasn’t going to take a hard and fast rule on parenting. Nicole’s take is this: We’re all doing our best, and it’s about being positive and uplifting and inspiring. MomTrends is focused on whatever moms need to live a better life.
What’s the secret to delivering on this for 10 years? A clear vision and an empowered and diverse staff, all playing to their strengths.
We had the chance to speak with Nicole after running a MomTrends chat with a client. Check out some highlights of our conversation. And, don’t forget to check out Nicole’s new book, MomBoss.
What is it like working with a team that’s 100% moms?
Today, we speak to more women than ever, from young millennial moms to women in their 40s whose kids are in a different life stage. We have an editorial staff with different viewpoints – but because they are all moms, we support each other. If we were not in this boat together, we wouldn’t work as well together or cover for each other when kids are sick.
This month everyone is going to go offline on spring break to refuel and reconnect with families. There are 14 years when we are intensely involved in our kids lives. Our impact lessens after age 14 when kids start to depend on their friends, but in those critical years, we need flexibility and capacity to mother the way we want.
We also have to engage our intellectual selves. Our work environment is great – and we can’t take for granted how far we have come. It’s our right to be educated and have careers that serve our minds and have the ability to serve our families.
Women who become moms are still intelligent and ambitious. They just need the ability to work on their own terms.
How did you know it was time to write a book?
The 10th anniversary of MomTrends had something to do with it. There’s a legitimacy that comes with thriving for a decade. It’s important to me to be a mentor, particularly to women in social media, but this was a chance to speak to women across fields.
I spent 8 months writing MomBoss. I interviewed 30 women about how they compromise, where they fail, and what they do when perfection isn’t possible.
What were some things you learned through your interviews for MomBoss?
I loved the way women were open about failures. I think women are moreso than men. They were willing to share.
I heard again and again how physically demanding it is to have a family and career. Sleep is out the window, and there’s a sacrifice to have a thriving business and a tightknit family. Self-care and girl-time and hobbies and passions you might have had – there’s less time for that.
But when your kids are older, you can get that back. If you give up your career to raise kids, it’s hard to step back into a career.
No one had regrets. Women in their 50s, 60s, 70s who had careers noted that their peers felt lost when kids went to college – and relationships and marriages suffered. Working is hard when your kids are young, but life would be easier when the kids left.
What do your kids think of your business?
The kids understand what I do – and they love the perks. They don’t love that I go online after I tuck them in. I always remind them that when I pick them up early from school, or we do something fun together, that comes at a price. I have flexibility, but I still have to put the work in.
They are in tune with the power of being an entrepreneur. When the business started and payroll would come in, they stuffed and stamped envelopes. Today, that’s automated, and they see the bundle form of checks that come in and go out the door. They’re proud that this is money that moms are getting paid from my business.
We asked Nicole what advice she has for women starting a business. Here’s what she shared:
- Fear of failure holds people back, so take chances. If you can do that while you’re at a day job, all the better.
- Start small. For example, open a shop on Etsy instead of retail. Find a way to test the waters, then go for it.
- Tap into a network. Ask for favors and set up networking meetings. Women want to help other women, but you have to make yourself known.
How non-moms can support moms at work –
First and foremost, be creative about scheduling!
I have encouraged non-moms to pursue their interests. Maybe it’s sewing or art or fitness classes. Develop your life in a way that isn’t associated with work. For me, it’s as important to be interested in her interests as she is interested in my family.
Bring more to the table than work. For many moms, coming to work is a breather from family time. I love when non-moms are interested in what’s happening in my kids’ lives, but I enjoy their non-work interests too.
Making your website your core –
Everyone expects social media to change, so don’t get too attached to one particular platform.
MomTrends.com has to have the best content. Everyone knows they can find us there. Facebook can change, Instagram can change, but we always have our home base at MomTrends. While we can’t predict the future of social media, we can control how people experience our site – so it’s important to dedicate yourself to great content.
How to work with bloggers –
We help brands connect with bloggers who want to tell their stories. We love to matchmake and we grew that part of the business from events to seeded content. Over the years, we focused on inefficiencies on how brands work with bloggers.
Sometimes that’s hosting events or experiential engagement with brands and bloggers. For example, we helped get first-time skiiers out there. It’s important to discover a common ground – that’s where brands and bloggers have experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have.